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A U.S. federal appeals courts sided with Apple on Thursday, in a verdict that could block Samsung from issuing new devices that infringe on the iPhone company’s patents.
The ruling—which covers Apple patents for slide-to-unlock, autocorrect, and quicklinks—is the latest in a four-year legal tussle. A previous decision in May 2014 awarded Apple nearly $120 million in damages, but didn’t require the South Korean tech company to pull those features from its mobile devices. Apple appealed, hoping to cover what it viewed as a crucial hole in that decision. Apparently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington agreed.
According to the ruling:
The right to exclude competitors from using one’s property rights is important. And the right to maintain exclusivity—a hallmark and crucial guarantee of patents rights deriving from the Constitution itself—is likewise important.
Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, Samsung has already removed those features from most of its current phones. (Only one device uses the quicklinks feature.) But that doesn’t mean the Galaxy maker has given up. In fact, it’s appealing both this and the original infringement verdict. If it wins, the victory would nullify both verdicts.
For now, however, Apple has a court victory to put in its arsenal. Since Samsung has largely dropped the relevant features, the matter could mean even more to other companies, if Apple uses the decision to target others who it sees as infringing on its patents.
As for the two tech giants, this matter is just a drop in the bucket. The companies have more than 50 legal disputes between them extending all over the globe. U.S. courts have tended to side with Apple, having ruled that Samsung infringed on iPhone and iPad designs.